‘The Notebook’ Review: A Musical Tear-Jerker or Just All Wet?

‘The Notebook’ Review: A Musical Tear-Jerker or Just All Wet?

So there’s a reason the producers are selling teeny $5 “Notebook”-themed boxes of tissues in the lobby. Love is powerful. Dementia is sad. The result can be heartbreaking.

Or maybe, seen with a cold eye, meretricious.

The movie, a super-slick Hollywood affair, did everything it could to keep the eye warm. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams, as the young couple, could not have been glowier. The soundtrack relied on precision-crafted standards like “I’ll Be Seeing You” to yank at your tear ducts. The production design, like a montage of greeting cards come to life, celebrated valentine passion, anniversary tenderness and golden sympathy, releasing flocks of trained geese into a technicolor sunset to symbolize lifelong pair bonding.

The musical, unwilling except at the margins to alter a plot so beloved — or at least so familiar — tries to distinguish itself in other ways. It aims for a rougher, hand-hewn texture, befitting Noah’s career as a carpenter and the indie-folk sound of its songwriter, Ingrid Michaelson. The directors, Michael Greif and Schele Williams, have cast the couples regardless of race: a nice, universalizing touch.

In other updates, the book writer, Bekah Brunstetter, has shifted the period by two decades — Noah fights in Vietnam, not at the Battle of the Bulge. She adds a third, intermediate incarnation of the couple, crowding the stage with replicants and pushing the 27-year-old Allie (Joy Woods) into the star spot because someone has to be there. (The 29-year-old Noah is played by Ryan Vasquez.) And instead of the cliché geese, Brunstetter gives us … sea turtles?

No, I don’t get that one either.

In any case, the de-slicking was a mistake; it turns out that the Hollywood varnish was the only thing holding the picture together. In its place, the musical makes few convincing arguments for a separate existence.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *